Philippine government spending in 2018 hit USD65.22 billion

MANILA (Xinhua) – The Philippines’ actual disbursements in 2018 amounted to 3.41 trillion pesos (roughly USD65.22 billion), the outgoing Philippine Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said yesterday.

The Philippine government expenditure in 2018 is slightly higher than the programmed disbursements of 3.37 trillion pesos (roughly USD64.464 billion), said Diokno, who was recently appointed as the governor of the Philippine central bank, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

Diokno told a news conference, “This reverses 12 straight years of underspending where actual disbursements of the national government fell short of the programme.”

Diokno said “higher spending on public infrastructure and personnel services,” which he said was half of the total disbursements in 2018, drove the government spending in 2018.

“One of the drivers of government spending of the fiscal year 2018 is higher spending on public infrastructure and personnel services,” Diokno said, adding that “this accounted for more than half of total disbursements.”

Diokno said the government infrastructure spending reached 886.2 billion pesos (roughly USD16.969 billion), which is higher than the target of 868.6 billion pesos (roughly USD16.632 billion) and is equivalent to 5.1 per cent of the gross domestic product.

The Duterte administration is now carrying out its aggressive infrastructure modernisation programme and reform agenda at full throttle to prop up the country’s status as Asia’s new economic powerhouse, according to Philippine Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez.

Indeed, the Philippine economy maintained robust growth in 2018, as the surge in government spending on infrastructure and social services was matched by a sustained rise in investments from the private sector.